Film Movement gets its uber-fantabulous foreign independent Film of the Month Club off to a great start for 2015 with the January 6, 2015 release of the 2013 Italian drama "Salvo." This tale of a Sicilian hitman commences like 10,000s of other brutally violent films about hired guns but becomes an exceptional character study of the titular enforcer.
The accolades for this unique flick include the Critics' Week and the Visionary Award honors at the Cannes Film Festival.
The following clip, courtesy of Movement and YouTube, of the trailer for "Salvo" provides a good sense of what sets this film apart from others in its genre.
The opening scene that has our "hero" blast his way through an ambush of him and the "boss" for whom he works creates expectations of a typical spaghetti gangsta film. These well-choreographed several minutes of car chases, flying bullets, and close calls create anticipation of a well-produced ultra-violent gangland war film. Instead, we get a very good character study of a cinema archetype regarding whom an audience typically only becomes superficially acquainted.
Salvo quickly learning that a rival legitimate businessman is behind the attack sets the film in motion; this information predictably leads to Salvo executing said "contractor" during an unannounced visit to the home of the latter.
Salvo encountering Rita, who is the blind sister of the executed man, while on his revenge mission leads to the primary twist that distinguishes "Salvo" apart from other films in its genre. The well-portrayed (and initially one-sided) bond that forms between these unlikely friends prompts Salvo to spare the life of Rita and sequester her against her will for her own good.
The film additionally devotes significant time to the entertainingly eccentric life at the shabby lodging establishment that Salvo calls home. Anyone who has ever stayed at such a place can relate to the management politely arguing with Salvo about a broken air conditioner that was working the day before. This exchange also illustrates that any place that provides living accommodations often knows very little (if anything) about the guests.
The third element of the life of Salvo that provides the film that bears his name a trifecta is his interaction with his seemingly benign employer. The not especially well veiled threats regarding their conversations and the valid suspicion that Salvo is lying regarding the fate of Rita provide great drama.
Further, the filmmakers pace the story well and make even the primary bad guys seem both somewhat likable and not so bad despite the plethora of notches on their belts.
The standard (but hardly typical) bonus short film that Movement includes this time is "Rita." Matching "Salvo" with this well-produced story of a relationship that develops regarding a home invasion of the residence of a blind woman is very apt.
The fact that the exceptionally blended hybrid nature of "Salvo" limits the appeal of the film to the "uberplex" crowd makes those of us who appreciate good films thank our lucky (indie) stars for Movement.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Salvo" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.